Thursday, September 20, 2007

So far

It is now 12.30. So far today I have been asked for advice on the following:

1) Can you recommend an internet Cafe
2) Can you tell me whether it is ok for a vegetarian to drink milk, as there may be fatty deposits in it. (Chap thinking of becoming veggie!)
3) I need somewhere to live, can you help me find a flat
4) Who invented the Blitzkrieg ? No book required - just a name
5) Can I borrow an old map - I just want to see if a pond was in Fordingbridge in 1800.

I promise I haven't made any of these up - all this morning too.

Not just me

It isn't only me !!!

I was in Waterstones the other day (I know - just looking at recently published titles - honest Your Honour), when I overheard the following.

"Hello, can you point me to the sellotape, and the children's toys please"

"Children's toys madam, we don't sell children's toys"

"Why not, you should do"

"No, we sell books madam"

"Why don't you sell children's toys?"

"Because we are a bookshop, why don't you try Woolworth's opposite"

"You mean this isn't Woolworths.... Well why didn't you tell me?"

So other bookshops do get them as well.

A little Vague

"Hello,I was watching an interesting programme with Simon Schama on the History Channel last night. He was talking about the history of Wales, and carrying a book. Can you get me a copy of it please."

Now people, you just KNOW that he didn't have any clues about author or title. The only extra bit of information I managed to get was "It might have been a Penguin"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A little unsure

Lady phones up.

"I saw your advert... Are you interested in books?"

Resisting the urge to make sarcastic replies about hating the damn things, I tell her that it depends on the books and ask what sort they are.

"Ohh I don't know"

"Well what Subjects"

"I don't know... all sorts"

"Erm, hardback or paperback ?"

"I don't know"

"Well how old are they?

You know what's coming "I don't know"

At this point, I have got a little bored, so I tell her that they are not really the sort I can sell, and that she should probably give them to a charity shop.

"So are they not valuable then ?"

I can't resist it.. I have to answer with "I don't know".

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Peter Rabbit and the detestable fraud

Thought I had blogged this one a while ago - but have checked and apparently not!

The day before this happened, Antiques Roadshow had uncovered a Peter Rabbit first edition, and valued it at several thousand pounds. As a result, I sat quaking in my little shop, waiting for the deluge of Peter Rabbit first editions to come flooding through the doors. Actually, I only had 5. Four people were perfectly civil and quite reasonable about their books. (See I CAN be nice about customers) Then there was this one ......

Woman (Aint no lady here honey) of a certain age (the certain age was approx 65 if I am generous) stomps into the shop in her wellies and hacking jacket, She was obviously pretty wealthy judging by the cut of her jib. (She had a sailing boat moored up outside). and exclaims in a loud and rather posh voice.

"I have a first edition Peter Rabbit I am willing to sell you"

"Are you sure it is a first edition, there aren't many around"

"Of course I am, it was brought for my grandmother as a child... I know how much they are worth, so don't you try to con me"

The book in question was bought out, and placed down for my perusal. I could see immediately (Cos I am ded clever) that all was not as it should be. (The plastic laminate cover was an immediate give away) so I asked a few further questions.

"You are sure that this is the same book your grandmother was given"

"Of course I am, don't be ridiculous"

"You didn't buy another copy to read at some point, to protect and older one"

"No, this is a first edition, and don't you try to rip me off, I know it is worth several thousand pounds"

She was irritating me by this point, so I decided I couldn't be bothered playing any more.

"Madam, this book was not given to your grandmother, unless she was already quite old when she got it. This book was published in 1984. There is an ISBN on the verso of the title page, and a barcode chip. ISBN's were not introduced in this country until 1971 (See how much you learn on this blog!!!!) and computer barcodes were certainly not around in Victorian England. To make it even more certain, there is a printing date of July 1984 just here (showing her the offending date at the back of the book). This book is a modern copy not a first edition, and is worth about a pound.

A bony grabbing little hand came out in a flash "Well just give me a pound for it then"

Now do you think she A) got a pound of me for the book or B) got verbally thrown out of the shop with a Paddington stare following her ?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

blaggity damn soddity

Most irritating man came in.

He emptied a plastic carrier bag onto the desk - just tipped it out. In there were a few book club books with torn wrappers, a readers digest, a couple of paperbacks and a couple of very shagged ex-library books with the price 50p pencilled in them. The whole lot was dirty, dishevelled and useless (I little like him - boom boom).

"How much are you going to give me for these" (Not a great way to open negotiations anyway)

I explained that I didn't buy paperbacks, book club, readers digest or shagged library books, and that we are an Antiquarian bookshop.

"Well where can I sell them - its hard work getting money for books these days, the other bookshops turned them down - I thought YOU would buy them".

Further irritated that I was the third place he had visited with this croc of shite I told him that the only place for these was a charity shop.

"Why should I give them to charity? I paid good money for these"

I pointed out that the highest price he had paid was 50p and that he had the benefit of reading them, and suggested that if he didn't want to pass on the benefit of them, he should just throw them away, as there wasn't a bookshop in the country that would buy this sort of book.

He stormed out of the shop, mutterering about how we had wasted his day going round the book shops with them.

Am I being unreasonable in thinking that such people are horrible little cheap, tight, dirty swines, who deserve locking in a room of cash, which is just out of reach of their greedy little clutching hands ?

Bless 'em all....

Many a cross word was spoken !

Bloke walks into the shop and presents me with a slightly crumpled book of crossword puzzles, which he hopes I will purchase from him. In my nicest voice, I decline his generous offer (Well not so generous - he wants my cash).

His reply is to ask "Why wont you buy it, my wife has only done some of them - there's plenty more for someone else to do"

What do you say to that ? Come on - how can I reasonably respond ?

(I stuck by my declention by the way).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Youth of Today

Bless Em....

Three kind souls, who felt that my shop needed a bit of a change, decided to smash the window and do in the bookcase before running off into the night.

Apparently they were young teenagers a little under the Affluence of Inkerhol.

Now I am the last to complain about people canning it a bit on a Friday night - but I'm not convinced they need to break my windows after.

That, however, is not what I am blogging about.

Next day, I had to clean up and get rid of the glass.

And endure EVERY person over 40 in town coming in to complain about young people, about night time in town, to mutter about how they should be strung up, executed etc: By the end of the day, I wanted to go and get drunk and hang out with the kids, break a few windows and tell the old gits to get lost etc etc.

I should be grateful that they are concerned enough to come in and sympathise with me. One day, one of them will actually buy a book and so put something into the "Window Restoration Fund"

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Long time coming

4 hours.

4 (yes FOUR) hours

That is how long Mr Boring sat in the shop and talked at me yesterday.

This chap came in, and had a little look around the shop. Pleasant enough, but was interested in things which weren't really grabbing me - and was telling me about them at great length

(Imagine a slightly nasal accent and slow voice) "Yeas, of course the velocity of the SP54 a type engine was considerably greater than the SP53 but it did suffer from a distinct lack of power on the upward rail stretches on the West Coast Line which I would venture to suggest limited its value to the GWR - wouldn't you agree"

Having looked around, he didn't actually decide to buy anything, but just parked himself in the chair in the front room, and talked at (yes at) me from 10.20 am until 2.18pm.

He gave me false hope by announcing that he had to go several times, but they never amounted to anything.. he just kept going on and on and on and on and on and on.

Fortunately I was able to tune him out, and so I continued to process orders and place books online. At one point he asked me if I minded him wittering on to me, and I replied, No, as long as he didn't mind me ignoring him. He pointed out that I wasn't ignoring him and we were having a lovely conversation (I think that one was about UFO's being the probable cause of crop circles, although the merits of the electro magnetic variation theory did somewhat attract him) Eventually he left, wishing me a happy week until his return next week

Oh yes - he comes in once a week to the big city on the bus. Whimper whimper sob sob.